(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Liew Vui Keong
Party: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Years as MP: 2008-present
Government position: Deputy minister in the prime minister’s department
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus:
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
Would you support the abolition/review of the Internal Security Act, in particular the provision that allows for detention without trial? Why or why not?
The ISA is being reviewed by the government and is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the first parliamentary session this year. This is [due to] the concerted effort of many quarters to make the ISA more relevant to deal with the current state of the law on security in the country and terrorism in the region.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
Our country practices a parliamentary democracy system of government where the constitutional nonarch, namely the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, is the guardian of the country’s official religion, Islam. Notwithstanding this, the constitution guarantees the rights of other races to profess and practise their religion freely in accordance with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
It is a fulfilling role, acting as a bridge between the people and the administration whereby the voices of the people can be translated and heard in Parliament.
Our parliamentary system has been around for the last 50 years or so, largely inherited from the British [system], which many have considered to be one of the most effective systems in the democratic world.
Our Parliament has also progressed with time. In terms of infrastructure, one of the most effective has been the introduction of ICT (information communication technology) that allows MPs to communicate with their constituents while in Parliament.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
We must understand that in every freedom as accorded under the constitution, such freedom is always subject to law. There is no absolute freedom per se, because to allow complete freedom would restrain any government from carrying out its function effectively. In cases involving defence and national security, it is only prudent that such information remains protected.
With regards to other information, there are provisions in the law such as the Official Secrets Act that allow for information to be declassified.
Notwithstanding the above, we have now entered into an era where the views of the people have taken centre stage in the administration of government, with “People First, Performance Now”.
Hence, the basis of our government is the opinion of the people, and the people should have freedom to information before they can form informed opinions. That freedom, I think is one of the great bulwarks of liberty.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
[I would ensure] that liberty and equality are the cornerstones of our democracy; that all of us have certain inherent rights. This [means] when we enter into a state of society, we cannot, by compact, be deprived or [be] divested of our posterity, namely the enjoyment of life and liberty, a decent respect [for] each other, and to obtain happiness and safety.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
Yes, as this ensures our parliamentary democracy system will flourish. As the second US President John Adams said: “It is by balancing each of these powers against the other two, that the efforts in human nature towards tyranny can alone be checked and restrained, and any degree of freedom be preserved in the [c]onstitution.”
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